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Hallerbos – The Blue Forest of Belgium

Most times of the year, Hallerbos is a beautiful but unremarkable forest in central Belgium, near Brussels. However, in mid-April and all through May, it turns into the Blue Forest, a fairytale-like natural attraction unlike any other.

The Blue Forest of Belgium gets its intriguing name from the vibrant carpet of bluebells that replaces the usual brown floor of the forest. Imagine millions of flowers covering the ground as far as the eye can see and you can get a pretty good idea of what this place is like in full-bloom. Bluebell forests are not unusual in Europe, but what makes Hallerbos unique is the density of the flowers that make its floor look like a living carpet.

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Belgian Church Turns into Beer Bar after Every Sunday Mass

In Brielen, a small Belgian village of only 700 inhabitants, it was customary for church goers to meet up for a beer after every Sunday mass. That became a problem after the last bar in the village closed down, but the local priest was more than happy to keep the tradition going by turning the church into a bar after Sunday mass.

Some say alcohol is the devil’s drink, but a Protestant church in Brielen, Belgium, is using it to keep parishioners happy and bring more people closer to God. After the last  bar in town closed, church goers who used to get together every Sunday after mass for a cold glass of beer were forced to either abandon their tradition or travel to neighboring villages. It was a sad end to a very popular custom, but the local priest saw it as an opportunity to do something good for his flock and attract more people to church.

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Belgian Cafe Boycotts Donald Trump by Banning All American Products

The popular Zeezicht Cafe, in Antwerp, Belgium, has recently stopped serving Coca Cola, Lay’s potato chips and every other American brand previously on its menu, in protest of President Donald Trump and and his controversial executive orders.

“No, it’s not a joke. All American drinks will disappear from the menu as long as Donald Trump’s policy does not change,” one of the owners of Zeezicht told Belgian reporters. “A few days ago, we gathered all the staff and found that something had to be done against the policy of Donald Trump, so someone launched the idea of ​​no longer selling American beverages or food. An economic boycott is probably the only measure Trump can understand.”

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Belgian Girl Travels to Silicon Valley to Reclaim Her Disabled Facebook Page

After waking up one day to find that her popular Facebook page had been taken down by Facebook, and after getting no reply to her messages, a young girl from Belgium eventually got on a plane to San Francisco to confront Facebook about the issue in person.

23-year-old Jamilla Baidou is somewhat of a celebrity in Belgium. She was a contender on the Belgian version of The Voice, in 2014, when she managed to impress both the judges and the nationwide audience with her musical talent. People wanted to see more of her even after she was eliminated from the popular TV show, so she kept them up to date with her projects on social media networks like Facebook and YouTube. Up until December 2016, she had amassed more than 157,000 fans and many of the videos she posted had over one million times. Vlogging had become her profession, and her Facebook page was the most important platform, but one day disaster struck – her page suddenly disappeared.

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Tiny Belgian Village Gets Invaded by Thousands of Pokemon Hunters

Lillo, a tiny village of just 35 permanent inhabitants, used to be one of the most peaceful places in Belgium. But that was before the Pokemon Go phenomenon happened. Today the seven streets that make up the village are packed to the brink with Pokemon trainers looking to catch the many virtual critters that can be found here.

For some reason, Niantic, the the Nintendo subsidiary that created Pokemon Go, decided that the quaint village of Lillo would be a great place to hide a great deal of collectible Pokemon, but it wasn’t long before avid players discovered its hidden treasures, and now the place is teeming with people roaming the streets with their eyes fixed on their handhelds. The old military fort located near the port of Antwerp has become a sort of Mecca for Belgian Pokemon Go players who travel here by the thousands every single day.

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La Balade Des Gnomes – Belgium’s Fairytale Hotel

If you’re looking to take a break from your everyday life and retreat in a fairytale world, there’s probably no better place than La Balade des Gnomes, near the picturesque town of Dubuy, Belgium. Featuring ten amazingly-decorated bedrooms and a special suite designed as a Trojan cow, this place is certainly unique.

Formerly an ordinary Belgian farmhouse, La Balade des Gnomes was transformed into a magical tourist resort by architect owner Dominic Noel. Inspired by fantasy settings, ancient Greek history, science fiction and medieval castles, the resourceful Mr. Noel managed to create his incredible hotel exclusively out of natural materials like wood, stone and cob (mud mixed with lime and straw). “The hotel was created by people who have a strong interest in nature,” the owner says, but anyone with a rich imagination would certainly appreciate the unworldly design and decorations of this place. The names of the rooms do a good job of describing what you can expect to see when you walk through the door: The Legend of Trolls seems taken straight out of the Lord of the Rings, In a Moon Neighborhood takes you to a distant future where humans can spend their vacation in a hotel on the Moon, while Macquarie Island boasts a marine decor complete with a boat-shaped bed.

Balade-des-Gnomes-Hotel

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Belgian Hotel Lets You Spend a Night in the Human Digestive System

Up until now I’d always associated Belgium with chocolates. But not anymore. Not since I read about the gut-wrenching (well, maybe that’s an exaggeration) experience that customers have at the Hotel CasAnus, located on a small island halfway between Antwerp and Ghent in Flanders, Belgium. The place is just as horrendous as it sounds, at least as far as exteriors are concerned. Shaped and designed like an enormous human intestine, the hotel is the creation of Dutch designer Joep Van Lieshout. The place is one large human colon, and the finishing touch is the rear – a giant replica of an anus.

Not everyone might envision spending their vacation inside a structure dedicated to the human digestive system, but surprisingly, a large number of people are actually interested in such an experience. The interiors aren’t all that bad, featuring double beds, showers and central heating. Run by Belgian art lovers Geert and Carla Verbeke-Lens, who purchased it as a part of their collection at the 30-acre Verbeke Foundation sculpture park, is certainly one of the most unique hotels to spend your vacation at. According to Carla, “guests are really happy to sleep undisturbed in a place surrounded by nature. They can see black swans and frogs and discover the stars in the night sky, as well as visiting all our different exhibitions. More and more travelers are coming to us from all over the world to explore what they call a ‘unique place’.” That’s no exaggeration, stats show that more than 20,000 tourists visit the Verbeke Foundation each year and many of them choose to stay at CasAnus. Several other activities take place at the foundation, like art exhibitions of collages and bio art.

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Patrick Brysbaert – Probably the World’s Most Eccentric Lawyer

Lawyers usually sport classic hairstyles, slick suits and expensive cars, but not Patrick Brysbaert. His Mohawk hairdo, multiple face piercings and leather pants make him probably the most eccentric lawyer in the world.

“Lawyers should dare to show what is under their robes. We represent the whole society, so even people who are a little different, like me”, Brysbaert says. Twenty years ago he looked like just another lawyer – he had short hair, always wore a classic suit and drove a boring Saab to work. Then, after he broke up with his partner, Patrick decided to quit his profession and started operating a cafe in Antwerp, Belgium. During this period of “true liberation” the former legal worker got a full back tattoo, an erotic drawing on his shoulder, had various parts of his face pierced and changed his hairstyle to a Mohawk. Finally, he was himself.

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Belgian Pavilion Built Out of 33,000 Beer Crates

If the world needed any more proof Belgians love beer, this temporary pavilion, built out of 33,000 plastic beer crates should clear all doubts.

Set right in front of the iconic Atomium building, the beer crate pavilion of Brussels was designed and built in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1958 Universal World Exhibition. Beer crates were chosen for the project, because the architects decided their work should evoke the concepts of universality and reusability, and nothing did that better than an ordinary item from the daily life of an ordinary consumer.

An exercise in how a normal item can transcend its normal purpose and become architecture, the beer crate pavilion is made up of approximately 33,000 beer crates. It may seem like a tough structure to build, but designers actually said the chosen material made assembly easier and allowed them to explore architectural features like columns, arches and domes.

As soon as the temporary pavilion is taken down, the beer crates will go right back to transporting bottles of delicious Belgian lager. I wonder if the designers had the “terrible” task of emptying all the 33,000 crates of beer, before using them…

 

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